Kutscher, Van Gogh Master Hong Kong

By February 21, 2016
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Marco Kutscher and Van Gogh win the Hong Kong Masters (Photo by Power Sport Images)

Marco Kutscher and Van Gogh jumped into history today as the first Longines Masters Grand Slam winners. The victory at the Masters of Hong Kong Grand Prix followed his win at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles in October. The achievement nets  $461,000 for Kutscher and owner Hans Horn’s De Wiemselbach — $183,000 for his share of the purse in the $HK3 million class and a $278,000 bonus for his second non-consecutive Longines Grand Prix win.

Kutscher, who currently sits at No. 18 in the FEI world show jumping rankings, was overjoyed result. “I am now a Hong Kong millionaire!” he joked. The German rider had been battling illness all weekend, yet managed to pull it together for today’s main event.  Adding to that there was serious pressure on him going into the final round against the best of the best as he was the last rider to enter the arena and had an ominous opponent, Kevin Staut, holding the lead with a time of 46.61 sec. “I felt very anxious going out as the last rider but I have been in this position before so that experience helped me a little bit.” Kutscher recounted. Aboard the 14-year-old KWPN stallion Kutscher rode the round of his life to complete the challenging course in 45.16 sec and win his first ever bonus. “I have never won a bonus and it’s not like everyday I win a Grand Prix so this is a tremendous thrill.

Founder of this innovative series, EEM CEO Christophe Ameeuw congratulated Kutscher for historic performance. “We are ending the fourth edition of the Longines Masters of Hong Kong on a high and it is incredible to see Marco win this Grand Slam Indoor Super Bonus and great for the public here to be able to witness history and an incredible standard of sport,” Ameeuw said. Patrice Delaveau and Lacrimoso 3 HDC won the second leg of the Longines Masters Series at the Dec. 6 Grand Prix of Paris.

Of Van Gogh, “Initially, nobody believed in that horse,” said Alex Korompis of Windsor Farm, the VA-based facility that had U.S. rights to the breeding semen of the horse’s sire, Numero Uno before handing that business off to California’s Jens Richter. “He was jumping okay, okay, okay, with different riders until Mario figured out what buttons to push and got the results we’re seeing now.”

Longines Grand Prix Runner-up Kevin Staut was full of praise for Kutscher and not surprised he stole victory in the last round. “The way Marco performed in the opening round I knew it was going to be very hard to beat him,” Staut said. Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano finished third (46.74 sec), current world No. 2 Simon Delestre of France was fourth (46.76 sec) with Irish young gun Bertram Allen (47.11 sec) landing fifth.

The Hong Kong event was notable for the international career launch of that nation’s star show jumper, Jacqueline Lai. Riding her first ever CSI 5 * event, she finished 20th on Capone 22, the best placing by a homegrown rider since the Hong Kong event’s inception four years ago.

Earlier in the day, French rider Roger-Yves Bost broke throught to win the Massimo Dutti Trophy, 1m45 Against the Clock. Riding 11 year-old gelding Record d’Oreal, Bosty recorded a time of 54.87 sec to snare victory much to the delight of the crowd who have become big fans of the champion rider since he first began competing.

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